State Theater, July 26
“I can’t be a people-pleaser more,” Kate Miller-Heidke sang in a piece of frantic inner dialogue from her 2020 album. child in reverse. But it’s her uncompromising vulnerability and ability to transform theatrically while remaining true to herself that has struck a chord with audiences over two decades.
Backed by a four-piece band, including husband Keir Nuttall, Miller-Heidke drew from her extensive catalog in a coherent and thematic way. Heartbreak and hope, youth and mortality, trauma and healing – the singer-songwriter is not afraid to delve deep contemplatively into all the elements that make us human.
Her vocals defy categorization, effortlessly traversing registers and genres, from classical to opera to art-pop and sometimes sultry rock, as in her hauntingly explosive Rolling Stones cover paint it black.
The crowd showed a strange awe at the near-pinhead silence and minimal recording on phones. Miller-Heidke’s vocal artistry came into its own and thrilled with the operatic, but almost primal screams of humiliationthe grooviness of Can’t shake itthe moving ballad Sarah and the ethereal softness of Last day on earthuntil the rising crescendo of creeper and trill lacing O dizziness!
Often one cannot help feeling privy to their innermost conversations and inner struggles. It helped create relatable moments that were comforting on one occasion and claustrophobic the next.
And it’s this demonstration of her ability to strike a balance between opposites – tender, powerful and vulnerable in the performance, melancholy, optimism and brightness in the lyrics – that provides a glimpse of her success.
There were bizarre moments in her vocal trill and a group ASMR session, and she looked like a deer in the headlights as her band jammed during an otherwise engrossing event You can’t hurt me anymore. But Miller-Heidke definitely kept it under control, delivered many moments that attracted the audience and showed her great virtuosity. There was Greata track she wrote for Muriel’s Marriage: The Musicala spirited duet by Caught in the crowd featuring a 17-year-old viewer named Mary and a dramatically raised cover by Kate Bush Wuthering Heights.
Finished with the high mark of the 2019 Eurovision entry weightlessnessit’s clear that Miller-Heidke finds more strength and joy in breaking free from expectations.
https://www.smh.com.au/culture/music/how-kate-miller-heidke-stuns-the-crowd-into-silence-20220727-p5b4w6.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_culture Kate Miller-Heidke Review at the State Theater